On June 24th the US Supreme Court struck down the long-standing ruling of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, eliminating the constitutionally protected right to abortion. Women in Lighting + Design (WILD), the North American Coalition of Lighting Industry Queers (NACLIQ), and Equity in Lighting (EIL) believe this polarizing decision must lead to a conversation about how self-determination over our own bodies is fundamentally aligned with equity.
We acknowledge that our members hold a range of political and religious beliefs, and believe that our industry must be diverse and inclusive so that all our members can thrive. This decision by the Supreme Court harms the lighting industry and our greater society by restricting access to healthcare, expanding gender inequality, and jeopardizing the right for our members to choose the path that is personally best for them and their families. Without the right to bodily autonomy and privacy, the rights of women, LGBTQIA+, and people of color are denied. When historically marginalized people have agency over their own lives, diversity thrives. Without it, the diversity problem that plagues this industry will only worsen. When bodily autonomy is denied we lose control over our own future—both personally and professionally. It is the mission of WILD, NACLIQ, and EIL to help the lighting industry understand and counteract the obstacles that our members and other marginalized communities face.
WILD, NACLIQ, and EIL call on the lighting community to join us in supporting the right of all lighting professionals to make informed, private, healthcare-related decisions and to understand that the greatest impact will be on those without the ease, means, or ability to travel. We call on companies in the lighting industry to offer expanded healthcare and travel benefits where state laws ban or severely restrict abortion access. We call on our colleagues and other lighting organizations to acknowledge the impact of this ruling on professionals in the industry and to amplify our call. As always, we call on the industry to mindfully support pregnant colleagues and working parents on their journey.
While we recognize this topic is polarizing on a deeply personal and political level, the core of the issue is not. This is not about abortion, it is about all individuals having personal dignity and autonomy and the freedom to make intimate and personal choices. Now is the time to find support in our community, have tough discussions, and demand more of employers and industry advocates. It is imperative that we come together in pursuit of equity for all lighting professionals and create a more diverse and inclusive community of which we can all be proud.